Fun Facts About Hamsters
Hamsters are popular small house pets because they are easy to care for and interact well with people. These tiny mammals are rodents belonging to the subfamily Cricetinae. There are more than 25 species of hamsters ranging from the large European breed measuring up to 13.4 in (34 cm) long to the tiny dwarf hamsters with bodies of 2 to 4 inches (5.5 to 10.5 cm) long.
Hamsters are nocturnal, burrowing animals. They eat a variety of foods, including dried food, berries, nuts, seeds and vegetables. The creatures store food within expandable pouches insides their cheeks that they bring back to their colonies to eat later.
Hamsters have stout bodies with short tails and small furry ears. Their thick fur can be colored black, grey, brown, white, yellow, red or a mix of these. The most common pet hamster is the golden-brown Syrian. This species is about six inches long and can live up to three years in captivity.
Other facts about hamsters
The word hamster comes from the Old German word “hamstern,” which means “hoard.”
The first hamsters were discovered in Syria, but the mammals are native to many countries.
Syrian hamsters are solitary, territorial creatures that need their own space. Hamsters can bite and even kill each other if they have to share a space.
In the wild, habitat loss from agriculture and human development are threatening the population of hamsters.
Hamsters have very poor eyesight and rely on scent to find their way. They have scent glands on their bodies they rub on rocks or other objects along a path.
Because they are small and easy to breed, hamsters are often used in laboratory experiments.
Although hamsters require little care when kept as pets, they will bite when startled or scared.
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